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Uncertain UnionsMarriage in England 1660–1753$
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Lawrence Stone

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198202530

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198202530.001.0001

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Bentley v. Bentley, 1715–1727

Bentley v. Bentley, 1715–1727

21 Bentley v. Bentley, 1715–1727
Uncertain Unions

Lawrence Stone

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a case study on forced clandestine marriage in England, focusing on the court case Bentley v. Bentley which was decided in 1727. The case involved the twenty-three-year-old Charles Bentley who was the son of a wealthy businessman and the twenty-three-year-old widow Elizabeth Dent who was the daughter of sugar refiner Richard Wilkinson. The two were allegedly married secretly in April 1716. However, Charles later learned than there was no register of their marriage and decided to marry Penelope Tyrrell. Elizabeth filed a lawsuit but failed to prove her alleged marriage to Charles Bentley and the suit was dismissed.

Keywords:   clandestine marriage, court cases, forged marriage, Bentley v. Bentley, Charles Bentley, Elizabeth Dent, secret marriage

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